Commissioners urge community to take steps to protect public health, businesses and restaurants as COVID cases rise
The Board of County Commissioners of Moffat County, who also sit as the Moffat County Board of Health, are writing to our constituents with this urgent message, appealing to each and every person in Moffat County to take steps to protect both our public health and also to help our businesses and restaurants stay in business.
This letter comes at a time of peril in our community. We have recently had 4 deaths at Sandrock Ridge Nursing Facility’s COVID Unit, and 2 deaths in the community due to COVID. Moffat County continues to be in jeopardy of losing our capacity within our local hospital system and also faces difficulty in transferring patients within the state-wide hospital system because COVID cases are currently overwhelming hospitals. You or your family could be adversely affected if you need hospital services for any kind of medical care, including heart attacks, strokes, or accidents, during this time when hospital access is limited.
Community well-being, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous. Your well-being as a citizen of Moffat County is important. We value the life of every citizen and business in Moffat County, and we urge you to be united in spirit and intent on the purpose of saving local businesses and, possibly, the health and lives of friends, neighbors, and family members from the drastic effects of COVID-19. We are trying to implement strategies to protect the health and well-being of our community.
Now is the time to come together and put our individual needs and beliefs aside for the successful survival of our community. We are pleading on behalf of every citizen and business within our community; especially the elderly, the vulnerable and those with pre-existing health conditions who may die if they contract the COVID-19 virus, all of whom we represent as Elected Officials.
Currently, we are classified as Safer At Home, level orange status by the Governor, putting our county and citizens at risk of falling farther from a state of well-being. We realize our community members, citizens, and businesses are suffering, and have suffered, through no fault of their own. In order to further the well-being in our community, we, your Elected Officials as both the Board of County Commissioners and as the Board of Health, are obligated to address matters that not only protect our citizens, but our businesses as well.
We have stressed personal responsibility in the past, but the situation has become so dire that we now believe people also need to exercise responsibility to the community by following recommended public health guidelines. At present, Moffat County has had a total of 246 known cases of COVID -19 and there are 101 active cases, with 108 new cases since November 13, 2020.
We know our risk points for disease transmission are gatherings, indoor dining, and the workplace when citizens who are sick or symptomatic go to work. Therefore, in order to increase compliance with measures known to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Moffat County Board of Health is implementing an incremental process, including wearing masks in public indoor spaces, restrictions on the size of gatherings, and following the State Public Health Order.
Important points to consider from Memorial Regional Health:
- We all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and others, and there are three (3) things that we MUST do now:
- Wear a mask. Masks will not stop this virus completely, but it will help reduce the spread. The breath or air from a person wearing a mask only travels 1-2 feet instead of 6’ or more when not wearing a mask. Wearing a mask also reduces the amount of virus you might be exposed to in a short amount of time. Most people have a strong immune system that can fight off viruses if they are minimally exposed. The more exposure or the longer the exposure, the less likely chance an immune system has to fight illness.
- Masks do work. Our hospital has seen about 10 employees contract COVID since March. Our contract tracing has determined that they contracted the virus outside of work, but what we also know is that our mask policy works. All of these employees have worn masks at work, and even though we learned about them being sick after having worked and taken care of patients, none of their coworkers or patients became infected.
- We also know that masks work because those frontline providers – the Rapid Care staff doing most of the testing, the ER staff taking care of many positive patients, the COVID unit staff caring for the positive patients, the EMS crews bringing in COVID patients – none of them have yet become infected. Masks work.
- Do not gather with people outside your single household unit. The more people coming together, the more likely the chance to spread COVID. Many people are asymptomatic (meaning, they don’t “feel” sick) for about 48 hours prior to symptom onset. Even though a person is asymptomatic, he/she is still contagious.
- It is true that many people who contract COVID will recover. Many will only have mild flu-like symptoms. However, the real concern is transmitting it to someone who will become very sick and possibly die. In Colorado, over 2,300 people have died because of COVID. To put this in perspective, 577 people died from the flu in 2018 (the most current data available). Yes, more people die of heart disease and cancer, but those are NOT viruses. A virus is something we have the ability to stop the spread. You cannot *give* cancer to someone. You cannot *give* heart disease to someone.
- Stay at least 6’ from others if you must go out. If you’re wearing a mask and you’re staying 6’ away, you are greatly minimizing the chance you’ll spread illness or contract illness. With our community positivity rate of over 14%, we can assume that COVID is spreading quickly. There is no way to know who has COVID, so we should encourage everyone to assume that anyone they come in contact with is positive.
Now is the time to make a few sacrifices to preserve our healthcare system and to stand up for the community. It is up to each of us in Moffat County, and our neighbors, to do our part for the well-being of each person in Moffat County.
Commissioners Ray Beck, Don Cook, and Donald Broom
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Moffat County has seen a slight rise in active COVID-19 cases in the county since the application for Level Green status was submitted Feb. 24, and according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and…